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Tsai hopes for democracy in China on eve of Tiananmen anniversary

2019/06/03 17:40:56

Taipei, June 3 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said Monday that since China's Tiananmen Square massacre and Taiwan's Formosa Incident, Taiwan has been firmly treading the path of democracy and freedom, and she hoped China would also choose the same path.

Tsai made the remarks during a meeting with a delegation of overseas democracy activists who are visiting Taiwan to gain an understanding of the country's democracy and human rights development.

Tuesday will be the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, commonly known as the June Fourth Incident, while this year marks the 40th anniversary of the Formosa Incident, Tsai noted, saying that the two incidents are of crucial historic significance.

After the two incidents, the direction and pace of development in Taiwan and China diverged, with the former firmly taking the path of democracy and freedom.

In contrast, human rights and freedom have been severely constrained in China, although the country has made significant economic progress over the past few years, Tsai said.

Taiwan's democratization was fraught with difficulty, Tsai said, pointing to a photo that showed Presidential Office Secretary-General Chen Chu (陳菊) on trial in a military court for her role in the Formosa Incident in late 1979.

Tsai said the photo should inspire the younger generation because the ruling Democratic Progressive Party was established amid difficult circumstances after the Formosa Incident.

Even as Taiwan holds fast to its value of democracy, it is concerned about the democracy and human rights situation in China, she said.

Meanwhile, in a statement issued Monday, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), Taiwan's top China policy planner, called on China to redress the wrongs of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre and adopt democratic reforms.

China should recognize its mistake, make an apology and take steps to redress the pain and injustice suffered by the victims and their families, the MAC said.

It also said Taiwan will resolutely safeguard its national sovereignty and democratic system and continue to exercise its influence of democratic value during exchanges with China, while extending its support for China's democratization by various means.

The Tiananmen Square massacre occurred in June 1989 when hundreds of student-led demonstrators, who were calling for democracy, free speech and a free press in China, were brutally crushed by the military in Beijing.

The Formosa Incident was a government crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations that occurred in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan, on Dec. 10, 1979 during the era of martial law.

The incident started when Formosa Magazine, headed by late opposition legislator Huang Shin-chieh (黃信介) and other opposition politicians, organized a demonstration commemorating Human Rights Day in an effort to promote democracy in Taiwan.

(By Ku Chuan and Evelyn Kao)
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